A guide to working in payroll

A guide to working in payroll
A guide to working in payroll

Contrary to popular opinion, working in payroll isn't just about punching in the numbers. Payroll changes all the time, it’s such a dynamic profession which leads to varied careers with plenty of room for professional growth. 

There are multiple avenues for career progression within the payroll industry, and a successful ascent up the ladder is largely determined by your ambition and proactive approach to continuing your professional learning and development in line with legislative changes in the industry. 

Our guide to working in payroll provides a comprehensive overview of careers to pursue, earning potential and qualifications to help you develop as a payroll professional. 

A guide to working in payroll 

​While it’s possible to enter the payroll profession following previous office support or admin experience, accreditation from a professional, industry body is recommended to give those working in payroll the extra edge in climbing the career ladder. 

Some of the most recognised payroll qualifications are provided by the Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals (CIPP), the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT), or the International Association of Bookkeepers (IAB). 

There are multiple avenues for career development when working in payroll. Below is an overview of the three main job roles you’re likely to take on as you progress in your payroll career: 

Payroll Administrator 

​Average Salary: £18,000 - £25,000 per annum 

A Payroll Administrator is an essential part of the team and has many important responsibilities. Distributing tax forms is one of the most important tasks an administrator will perform, from P45s to year-end tax forms. The end of each tax year brings several highly important deadlines to fulfil for both tax and legal purposes, which must be fulfilled by the Payroll Administrator on behalf of the company. 

Qualifications to progress: Payroll Technician Certificate – Level 3 (CIPP), Certificate in payroll administration (AAT), National payroll certificate (CIPP), Certificate and diploma in payroll or computerised payroll (IAB) 

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Payroll Advisor

Average Salary: £25,000 - £28,000 per annum 

A Payroll Advisor is an integral part of any payroll department, with a number of important responsibilities to ensure the smooth running of the wider payroll department. While the most important task for a payroll team is ensuring that all employees are paid on time and with the correct amount, there are also other important duties which must be performed. This includes the distribution of many tax and financial related documents, many of which are essential for tax purposes. 

Qualifications to progress: CIPP National Payroll Certificates, CIPP Practitioner Certificate in Payroll, Advanced Practitioner Certificate in Payroll and Diploma in Payroll, IAB Certificate, and Diploma in Payroll or Computerised Payroll 

Payroll Manager

Average Salary: £35,000 - £50,000 per annum 

A Payroll Manager is the most important role within the payroll team. The payroll manager tends to look after the payroll team and ensure that the department runs smoothly and effectively. With salaries being hugely important to employees and the employer alike, this role is vital and ideal for someone who has a great deal of experience within the industry. 

Qualifications to progress: BA (Hons) in Applied Business and Management (CIPP), MSc in Business and Reward Management (CIPP). 

​It’s important to remember that professional development shouldn’t stop when you reach Manager or Director Level. Given changing legislation and technologies in payroll, keeping your skills and knowledge current is essential to remain competitive on a professional level. 

Working in payroll and fancy taking the next step in your career?  

​If you’re working in payroll and looking to progress professionally, you’ve come to the right place. Our Accountancy & Finance teams are currently recruiting for a host of payroll jobs nationwide, ranging from entry level through to managerial level. Contact us to find out more or click the button below to view and apply to our nationwide opportunities.